|"The U.S. military will subject Syrian rebels taking part in a new training program to psychological evaluations, biometrics checks and stress tests under a screening plan...as it expands support for armed groups in Syria." --The Washington Post, November 28, 2014. Image source: Vice.|
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Sunday, November 30, 2014
Friday, November 28, 2014
A window centered over the kitchen sink
Looks out upon the birdbath, the feeder,
All the way past the chicken coop to the
Red barn behind which trees feather the horizon.
Today the birdbath bears a lid of snow,
A few chickadees address the feeder.
The cherry trees that line the dry lot fence
Are bare armed, bleak as gun metal sky.
My hands delve deep in soapy water.
China and silver clinking a weary hymn.
The scrub of cookie sheets or skillets
Grates like November lurking out the window.
The window frames each season. That’s
The reason farmwives demanded placement
To gaze upon the bridal wreath in bloom
Or hollyhocks upholding the old wellhouse.
Dishwashing invites contemplation. When
The hands are occupied the mind escapes
Its practical routines and lounges out
Into a landscape frozen as today’s
Promised grace of one more Thanksgiving.
Thursday, November 27, 2014
Is the snow that hovers in these low slung clouds
particles of glaciers evaporated, waiting
to fall, mirrors of penguins and polar bears,
sluggish fish, even the midnight sky
that beam upon the mirror, blue on blue white ice
where the edges creak, broken sky,
broken mirrors of the ocean’s depths,
whales in fact that breach
searching for air, ready to go home.
If so, glaciers melting, ready to fall,
arrest drivers surging home for Thanksgiving,
how thousands of years of solidness
is now a lake, one too cold to swim in
but close to our hearts, this affinity
for holding on, for letting go, for forgiveness.
Will the glaciers forgive warmer waters?
Will the glaciers forgive their melting?
They have no hands to cover themselves,
to swim somewhere else; their solidity,
calm steadiness is what we seek,
and tomorrow it will snow, glaciers
letting go, freeing themselves as crystals fall
heavy on the grounds, seeking saviors.
Laura Rodley’s New Verse News poem “Resurrection” appears in The Pushcart Prlze XXXVII: Best of the Small Presses (2013 edition). She was nominated twice before for the Prize as well as for Best of the Net. Her chapbook Rappelling Blue Light, a Mass Book Award nominee, won honorable mention for the New England Poetry Society Jean Pedrick Award. Her second chapbook Your Left Front Wheel is Coming Loose was also nominated for a Mass Book Award and a L.L.Winship/Penn New England Award. Both were published by Finishing Line Press. Co-curator of the Collected Poets Series, she teaches creative writing and works as contributing writer and photographer for the Daily Hampshire Gazette. She edited As You Write It, A Franklin County Anthology, Volume I and Volume II.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
|A protester after being treated for tear gas exposure in Ferguson. Image source: ADREES LATIF / REUTERS / LANDOV via People.com|
A young unarmed
Was shot to death
By a white police officer
If you’ve heard this one . . .
Buff Whitman-Bradley is the author of four books of poetry, b. eagle, poet; The Honey Philosophies; Realpolitik; and When Compasses Grow Old; and the chapbook, Everything Wakes Up! His poetry has appeared in many print and online journals. He is also co-editor, with Cynthia Whitman-Bradley and Sarah Lazare, of the book About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War. He has co-produced/directed two documentary films, the award-winning Outside In (with Cynthia Whitman-Bradley) and Por Que Venimos (with the MIRC Film Collective). He lives in northern California.
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
|CHARLIE RIEDEL/AP via People.com|
Beneath Seasons Greetings banner/
sign spanning Ferguson Missouri
street, armored cars, police behind
plastic shields, slow marching into
unruly crowds doused by tear gas
blasts, bean bag volleys, protestors
carrying Stop the Killing signs, street
fires burning, small arms fire,
no indictment tonight.
Alan Catlin has published numerous chapbooks and full-length books of poetry and prose, the latest of which, from March Street Press, is Alien Nation.
Monday, November 24, 2014
|Oscar Alfaro embraces his wife Enriquta Juarez and his daughter Gelin Alfaro after Obama’s televised immigration speech. Photograph: Jose Luis Magana/AP via The Guardian|
Jesús and María,
step out of the shadows,
look up at the mountain,
the cedar, the pine.
Refresh in the streams
that line your palm,
your brow. Don't stoop
in the furrows, the rows.
Rise up in the orchards,
the vineyards, the fields.
The fruit, it is sweet,
the lettuce not rotting.
Crawl out of the caverns
that nurture tristeza,
despair. The skies
are clearing, relinquish
your fear at least for now.
from earth that you've
plowed, from gardens
in cities you've loved
then left. The laughter
of children, it scatters
like petals, like leaves.
Oh Jesús y María,
Rosalita and Juan,
you are not deportees.
Judith Terzi is the author of Sharing Tabouli and Ghazal for a Chambermaid (Finishing Line). Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in BorderSenses, The Raintown Review, Times They Were A-Changing: Women Remember the 60s & 70s (She Writes), TRIVIA: Voices of Feminism, Wide Awake: The Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond (Beyond Baroque), and elsewhere. Her poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and Web.
Sunday, November 23, 2014
The common or garden good is a weed
strayed from a Communist plot.
Don’t believe those who loudly proclaim that we need
the common or garden good; it’s a weed
that threatens to crowd out the flowers of greed
by claiming our gains are ill-got.
So root out that noisome and noxious weed—
send it back to its commie plot.
Esther Greenleaf Murer is a relic of the 20th century. She lives in Philadelphia.
Saturday, November 22, 2014
Hear us strike our match,
our voices glowing
over this capital—
our lower case demands
will only grow louder,
nuestras voces ponderosas
hear us from your palace,
so much fuel in our voices
your quiet fuels to inspire us—
our marching bellow.
The world welcomes
our fire united we, students
as sisters and brothers,
together— you will hear
our loudest uprising.
Somos la llama de Mexico.
Wrapped in our flags
colors of green, white
and red; spirit of águila’s—
We Are The Flames.
El cielo can feel us—
our spirits uniting?
will never divide this city,
Presidente, you will
remember our names.
Adrian Ernesto Cepeda is an L.A. poet whose work appears in the new True Romance Poems collection, 1000 Tankas for Michael Brown, The Lake Poetry, Edgar Allen Poet Journal # 2, Fukushima Poetry Anthology, San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly, Spilt Ink Poetry, Luna Luna Magazine’s Latino Poetry Project, Love Poetry Lovers, ZO Magazine, Oddball Magazine, The Rain, Party, & Disaster Society, Men's Heartbreak Anthology and in the soon to be released publications: Purrfect Poetry Anthology and Poetry in Motion’s collection Poems to Fuck To. He is currently enrolled in the MFA Graduate program at Antioch University in Los Angeles.
Friday, November 21, 2014
|“Those who have been watching the clashes in Kobani and the coalition’s airstrikes minute by minute insist that the military balance has decidedly turned against IS. Particularly after IS withdrew from the Mishtanur hill that dominates Kobani from the east, and the People's Protection Units (YPG) advanced to control the road that IS used as its main supply line coming from Raqqa, it became apparent that the military balance was in favor of the defenders of Kobani.” --Cengiz Çandar, “Watching Kobani,” Al-Monitor, November 18, 2014. Image: A Kurdish man uses binoculars to watch fighting in Kobani, from the village of Mursitpinar, on October 6, 2014. (Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images)|
Death is retreating
You can hear his footsteps
In the market
The rubble at Asayesh
In the hospital
Flying out of a corpse
In the souk
Tents and rugs torn
Into shreds of fuzz
Death is on the run
His footprints craters
Fleeing across Tel Shair Hill
Paul Smith writes fiction and poetry. He belongs to the Rockford Writers' Guild. He likes to read about news from all over the world.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
|“A bull branded gay, has been saved from the slaughterhouse by charity donations, including £5,000 from Sam Simon, co-creator of the Simpsons. . . . Benjy, from County Mayo, Ireland, was destined for the abattoir after showing more interest in breeding with other bulls than cows." --BBC News, November 18, 2014. Photo by Joanna McNicholas accompanying the BBC story.|
The great white bull is no Moby Dick:
no taste for violence, no hunger
for limbs, no desire to judge black
from his own white, no passion
for bovine of the opposite sex; just
a yen for grass and peace
and an eye for the other studs.
The farmer called it queer, raised
his arms to slaughter this beast
that knows nothing of appetites.
James Penha edits The New Verse News.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Vulnerable youth conceived in poverty
Prime target uncivil war combatants
Desperate underage struggle too easily
Manipulated brainwashed drugged forced submission
Hungry for attention affection acceptance
Needing sense of belonging diversion
Exploited as sex slaves spies
Human shields cooks pregnant wives
Unwanted offspring rescued from abortion
To be sacrificial misbegotten martyrs
Both innocent victims guilty perpetrators
Carrying out barbaric violent acts
Indoctrinated to commit atrocities without
Flinching first kill your family
Relatives neighbors never to return
Crybabies humiliated emotional outburst taboo
Conditioned response demonstrating fearless bravado
Nevertheless dying as helpless kids
Uneducated unable undone unanswered prayers
Resurrected displaced lives forever stigmatized
Our global eradication goal to
Eliminate poverty provide educational options
From evolution to unforgettable revolution
Restoring former child’s damaged psyche
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
found among comments on YouTube responding to the Ray Rice video,
by Melissa Fite Johnson
Dumb bitch started it. Cunt
ruined his career. Too bad
he didn’t break her fucking jaw off.
Act like a man, try and hit one,
get treated like a man. This is what
equality looks like. Girls
are as much of a threat
as guys. She slapped him first.
She’s the aggressor. What the fuck
do you see? A man beating
his woman? He defended himself
against a human being with
the potential to hurt him.
All those white feminists need to
shut the fuck up. Period. This is
what equality looks like. It probably
wasn't his intention to knock her out,
but shit happens. She should've
thought of that before assaulting
an NFL player. A woman
deserves equal rights.
She has to take responsibility
for her actions. She had it coming.
This is what equality looks like.
Melissa Fite Johnson teaches English at Pittsburg High School in Kansas. She’s had poetry published in Cave Region Review, The Little Balkans Review, and Inscape Magazine, as well as in the Kansas Notable Book poetry collection To the Stars Through Difficulties. The Little Balkans Press will publish her first book of poetry While the Kettle’s On this year. Melissa and her husband, Marc, live in Pittsburg with their dog and several chickens.
Monday, November 17, 2014
|Anith Jones of Merrillville. Image source: NBC Chicago / Twitter|
Afrikka Hardy in Hammond Indiana.
Strangled in a Motel 6.
A woman whose body was found.
Anith Jones of Merrillville.
Missing since October 8.
A person later discovered.
Names enforce anonymity. And the
other words about the murdered
have their rhythm, an odd tick-tocking
bone-xylophone: logic plays drums,
not strings, brass or woodwinds.
A second victim had been identified,
the keyboard scats in rigid clacks.
The coroner’s office on Sunday said
the woman was 19. A man, 43,
admitted to the killing. Police arrived
and searched the empty home.
Her wounds were left unspecified,
and the death was ruled a homicide. They
discovered Hardy's body 9:30 p.m. on Friday.
It shuts you up, living thing. No comment.
So much impossible to know. Care rots like
old rubber, hardens, cannot bounce. Our glory
was just being here – but we are tainted by
the inevitable, the possible, the likely and the
unlikely, all equally.
It’s too bad the newspapers collapsed –
they could be folded, and maybe smacked
on a table, or if called for, burned in a rusty barrel.
But even when left alone, on bended shelves or
concrete floors, they always faded, they had
that decency, to molder, silent, away.
A story by Patrick Cole appears in the Writing That Risks anthology, and others were in recent issues of The Conium Review, Conclave, and Rivet. His work has also been published in Parcel (Pushcart Prize nominee), High Plains Literary Review (also a Pushcart Prize nominee), Agni online, Nimrod International, 34th Parallel, and turnrow. Cole’s one-act play was a finalist in the Knock International Play Competition and was produced in Seattle.
Sunday, November 16, 2014
|Ron Chapple/Getty Images|
Another Saturday night
in this welt of a town.
Someone goes down.
Someone’s prized son
never reaches twenty-one.
Like the crow of the rooster,
the call comes before the sun rises.
Beacons glare in black puddles
on a balmy summer night.
Rage plays like an oldie,
under a skipping needle.
Brothers, like broken glass,
can’t mend themselves.
Mothers can’t restrain
pit bulls yanking
on choke chains.
Tears fall, fade
like chalk marks
JeanMarie VanDine lives in Southern California, and has taught English in urban high schools—where she has witnessed the loss of many young men—due to violence.
Friday, November 14, 2014
|Meme source: Twitter|
Reading how the hens suffer
Crammed by the thousands in metal cages,
Stacked stories high,
The air thick with dust and feathers,
Beaks clipped, thin necks bloody,
The dying decaying beneath calloused claws,
Adhering like bathmats to the wire floors.
Forced to lay seven times the norm,
Until spent, to be seized
By the handsful, gassed and ground
For pet food. Never seeing sunlight
Or spreading wings or nesting in trees
Or taking dustbaths or establishing
The pecking order. Reading that to guarantee
A normal chicken life would mean
Paying triple or more for this
Scrambled plate, I tell you
I’d pay whatever it costs to let them be
Chickens scratching in the dirt, how maybe we
Should set up the nesting boxes
In our old coop and get some
Leghorns, though I know we won’t
Bother really, and much as I abhor
What I am reading, there’s the long distance
Between slick paper and the
Long, long barns and my fork.
Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, and Prairie Schooner. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, Rhino Poetry Award, the new renaissance Award for Poetry, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She was a finalist in the GSU Poetry Contest (2007), Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize (2009, 2012), and received honorable mentions in the North American Review's James Hearst Poetry Contest (2008, 2010). She is the editor of Illinois Racing News, and lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois. She has published 11 books including The Lonely Hearts Killers and How the Sky Begins to Fall (Spoon River Press), The Atrocity Book (Lynx House Press) and Dead Horses and Selected Poems from FutureCycle Press. Selected Poems received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize. Properties of Matter was published in spring of 2014 by Aldrich Press (Kelsay Books). Two chapbooks are forthcoming in 2014: Bittersweet (Main Street Rag Press) and Ah Clio (Kattywompus Press). Colby is also an associate editor of Kentucky Review and FutureCycle Press.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
|The life-size marble statue of Adam, carved by Tullio Lombardo (Italian, ca. 1455–1532), is among the most important works of art from Renaissance Venice to be found outside that city today. In 2002, Adam was gravely damaged in an accident. Committed to returning it to public view, the Museum undertook a conservation treatment that has restored the sculpture to its original appearance to the fullest extent possible. --The Metropolitan Museum of Art|
No one knows
if Adam Accidental
fell this time
or was pushed.
His head broke
off, perfect torso
patio, Adam fragments
found, but not Eve.
In the first fall,
Adam Deliberate yanked
that apple off
with purpose, kept
his footing. Unharmed
in the filming,
First Father still,
Eve, whole as
he, five minutes
under the new sun,
in the god's-eye
camera, ( restoration
experts say) became
Ellen Devlin has studied poetry at the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, Hudson Valley Writers Center and Sarah Lawrence Writing Institute. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Poet's Lore, New Ohio Review, Women's Studies Quarterly, Redactions, Helix, Passager, The Lost River Review, as well as online in The New Verse News.
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
|Ayotzinapa, Mexico -- Students, parents, friends and residents of this town in southern Mexico are demanding justice in the case of a slain student they say was the victim of horrific torture. The slaying of Julio Cesar Mondragon, the shooting deaths of three of his fellow students and the disappearance of 43 others in Iguala, Mexico, are sending shock waves across the nation. What happened to Mondragon is difficult to describe. Those who knew the victim are outraged and fearful. The body of the 22-year-old college student was found lying on a street in Iguala in the early hours of September 27. The skin of his face had been peeled off and his eyes gouged out, according to witnesses and relatives who spoke to CNN. --Rafael Romo, CNN, November 6, 2014. Image source: Twitter.|
I am Julio Cesar Mondragon
Murdered by a hitman in Guerrero Mexico
My face gouged and bloody
Eye sockets staring at the sky
I came here to study
My family was poor
I had no other choice
An opportunity to change my life
Struck down with one blow
I was in the wrong place
At the wrong time
On a bus traveling to my death
My empty eyes stare at you
Give me back my life.
Howard Pflanzer is a poet and playwright. He has performed his edgy short poetic plays and poetry Dead Birds or Avian Blues (published by Fly By Night Press in 2011) at KGB, The Living Theatre, Theaterlab, A Gathering of the Tribes, LaMaMa and the Cornelia Street Café in New York. His hybrid performance piece Walt Whitman Opera adapted from Whitman’s poetry with music by Constance Cooper, was presented at the undergroundzero festival in New York this past July. He was featured poet in November 2013 of The Poetry Company. His award winning plays and musicals have been performed at LaMaMa (The House of Nancy Dunn with Steve Weisberg/Andy Craft), Playwrights Horizons, Symphony Space, Medicine Show, Kraine Theater (Cocaine Dreams), The Living Theatre and broadcast over WBAI and WNYC FM. His multi-media theatre piece Alien created in collaboration with Teatr Palmera Eldritcha in Poland was presented at the 2011 Malta International Theatre Festival.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
|"Custer's Last Stand" by Harold von Schmidt. Image source: Smithsonian.|
On November 11, honor the brave dead
from Afghanistan and Iraq, heroes against
German and Japanese imperialism
and the sacrificed souls in “the war to end
But also thank Custer’s soldiers
for not completing the genocide.
I went to bed and dreamt that Sitting Bull
saw Hiroshima and Nagasaki
in a vision quest
and then dropped an A-Bomb on Washington, D.C.
to stop invading Custer
from killing his women and children
like so many insects.
Upon awakening, I discovered that America
attacked Iraq for weapons of mass destruction
pecuniary munitions manufacturers
crumbled twin towers
with their boomerang missiles
because recipients of evil often do evil in return.
Russian troops rhythmically
marched in the Ukraine,
a cruel video
beheaded a journalist,
ruinous bombs reined down
on rubbled villages of the weak,
and a bullet to a private’s leg became gangrene
as sepsis spread to amputation and death.
An obscure philosophy book said
that Custer should have refused
to attack renegades
because the Black Hills were the Lakota’s by treaty
and that God had ordered Custer’s men to lay down
their weapons or be shot for insubordination.
By river rapids, a sweating grimacing squaw
watched the blue cavalry approach as
she gave birth to a red son,
who drew his first breath,
wailed loudly and coveted white milk.
Gil Hoy received a B.A in Philosophy from Boston University, an M.A. in Government from Georgetown University, and a law degree from the University of Virginia. Gil also is an elected member of the Brookline, MA Democratic Town Committee, and served as a Brookline Selectman for 12 years. Gil studied poetry at Boston University, and started writing his own poetry in February of this year. Since then, Gil’s poems have been published in Soul Fountain, The New Verse News, The Story Teller Magazine, the Clark Street Review, Eye On Life Magazine, and Stepping Stones Magazine.
Monday, November 10, 2014
Now the tunnel at the end of the light
Perceived: no one won, no one was right;
No one lost, but the dead and maimed
Suffered all for the armistice gained.
Richard O'Connell lives in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Collections of his poetry include RetroWorlds, Simulations, Voyages, and The Bright Tower, all published by the University of Salzburg Press (now Poetry Salzburg). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, National Review, The Paris Review, Measure, Acumen.
Sunday, November 09, 2014
|Image source: 1stdibs|
soothes his system
the Great Depression
walking to school
without a coat
that didn’t match
his tank under fire
the slow motion of
body parts in the water
the gunner’s beheading
crimes never mentioned
until his wife’s death
sixty years later
his box of medals
now his mind turns bedside
his infant son
an iron lung
the good man
he would become
swirls the room
he smiles back
fields and farms from
their Piper Cub
their carnival of friends
his good fortune
the landscape of his
life a clean horizon
straining through pain
between tabs of morphine
he finds the faded
Navajo rug bought
from the back of a truck
their honeymoon stop
near Santa Fe
the light in the eyes
of his spunky bride
he tosses the rug
to the garage floor
drops down hard
steadies the gun
metal to mouth
as he remembers
paying full price
Peg Quinn is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, mural and theatrical set painter, award winning quilter and art specialists at a private school in Santa Barbara, California.
Saturday, November 08, 2014
The preacher spoke.
Hearts were broken.
Mourners had nowhere to turn.
With money earned
and with bodies burned.
Someday they will learn
what there is to learn.
Families and friends came to the funeral.
The body was shipped home
with a flag draped over the box.
for a college education.
He hoped to find a job.
That was his hope,
so many hopes,
all gone now.
Fallen on the battle field:
a post office was named for him,
as if that meant anything.
George Snedeker has published scholarly articles in the areas of social theory and Literary Criticism as well as short stories and poems. His poems have appeared in both literary magazines and sociology journals. His book The Politics of Critical Theory, published in 2004, received several positive reviews in scholarly journals. His satirical novel about college life The Cutting Edge was published under the pen name of David Lansky in 2013. He is the book review editor of the journal Socialism and Democracy and has served on its editorial board since 1985.
Friday, November 07, 2014
Thursday, November 06, 2014
Wednesday, November 05, 2014
They say you may get Ebola
if in public you sip a Coca Cola,
or just being in Maine,
or in Dallas deplane.
They don’t know s#!t from Shinola.
She just went for a ride on her bike,
but was followed by folks with a mike.
They wanted to know
she’d stay home with her beau,
but her answer the Guv did not like.
The reporters were terribly scared,
but it was for our safety they cared.
They got near her so close
with their questions so gross
to warn it’s our air she has shared.
But soon, 21 days will pass
though the Guv won’t admit he’s an ass:
“I just did what’s right
though it caused quite a fright,
but next time, I won’t mess with this lass.”
Paul Dickey’s most recent volume of poetry is Wires Over the Homeplace from Pinyon Publishing. He published They Say This is How Death Came Into the World with Mayapple Press in 2011. Dickey’s poetry has appeared in Verse Daily, Rattle, Potomac Review, Prairie Schooner, Sentence: A Journal of Prose Poetics, Mid-American Review, Midwest Quarterly, Pleaides, Bellevue Literary Review and many other journals, both print and online. Additionally, Dickey daily posts humorous political limericks such as these at his Facebook site, The Liberal Limerick and has published an e-book of his witty verse Liberal Limericks of 2012 (available free at Amazon.)
Tuesday, November 04, 2014
Erica Goss is the Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, CA. She is the author of Wild Place (Finishing Line Press 2012) and Vibrant Words: Ideas and Inspirations for Poets (PushPen Press 2014). She won the 2011 Many Mountains Moving Poetry Contest and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2010 and 2013. Recent work appears in Atticus Review, Lake Effect, The Red Wheelbarrow, Passager, Main Street Rag, Pearl, Rattle, Wild Violet, and Comstock Review.
Monday, November 03, 2014
|Photograph: Getty Images|
the stubborn, stolid expressions
on sleek faces well acquainted
with the banquet table?
The words of Christ rejected
as I bless the poor, call for
their protection, elevate them.
If I am a Communist
than what was Christ?
He reviled power, condemned
the exploitation of his own.
Now the money has turned some,
twisted the divine words to elevate
their “donors”, castigate the rest.
Lord we cannot wait
for an afterlife when bread
is unaffordable and our toil
is a yoke borne by the many.
Forgive us but give us this day
the ability to hear your words above
the clink of gold in diocesan coffers.
Ed Bennett is a poet and reviewer living in Las Vegas, NV. His works have appeared in Touch: The Journal of Healing, The Lavender Review, Quill and Parchment, and Lilipo. He is a staff editor for Quill and Parchment Magazine and the author of A Transit of Venus.
Sunday, November 02, 2014
|Image source: Reddit|
The tombstones and zombie decorations
look more scared than scary among those
living in translucent skin, rolling their
wheelchairs with skeleton hands,
gasping in their oxygen masks.
The Grim Reaper creeps along the corridors,
behind a walker, to the costume contest,
scythe taped to his back with bloody bandages.
The bedridden plead for him not to pass them by.
No one pulls back in fright or shrieks
from anything other than pain or dementia
or to let themselves and anyone else out
there know they are, for good and bad,
Only when the grandchildren come to trick-
or-treat in their jack-o-lantern and fairy
princess costumes do their sunken eyes
rise from their sockets and their colorless
lips tremble with fear.
Michael Mark is a hospice volunteer. His poetry has appeared in Angle Journal, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Empty Mirror, Everyday Poets, Forge Journal, Lost Coast Review, New Verse News, Petrichor Review, Scapegoat, Silver Birch Press, Red Booth Review, The thing itself, The New York Times, The Wayfarer, Work. His poetry has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize.
Saturday, November 01, 2014
|Image source: San Diego Democrats for Equality|
Primaries, conventions, elections—
spectacularly staged surrogates for old dreams
of candidates who dare to espouse bold schemes
for taking the country in fresh directions,
who dare to speak on great-souled themes,
dare to engage the voters' affections;
Primaries, conventions, elections—
spectacularly staged surrogates for old dreams.
Makeup artists mediate complexions
with powders, liners, blushes and cold creams,
and behind the scrim the aura of gold gleams:
what matters is pleasing those powerful connections.
Primaries, conventions, elections—
Author’s note: repeating lines from Anselm Hollo, "The Dream of Instant Total Representation.”
Esther Greenleaf Murer, a relic of the 20th century, lives in Philadelphia. She published a poetry collection Unglobed Fruit in 2011. In a faraway time and place she was a pollworker and precinct committeeperson.